K & P, Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach, FL

Joy....absolute pure joy. These are the only words I can use to describe Kathryn & Paul's Cocoa Beach elopement ceremony. From Kathryn's first email on the morning of their marriage telling me today was already a great day to Paul's unstoppable smile before, during, and after the vows, I could tell these two had found their forever in each other and couldn't wait to get on with it.

The rain moved out minutes before Kathryn & Paul's elopement ceremony at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach.

Love this handmade bouquet incorporating all their friends and family from back home in New York!

Mom and Grandma as their witnesses. Beautiful ladies.

When I asked about how the proposal happened I got this wonderfully eloquent answer :                                    

Paul: It’s interesting -- the time was just right. It wasn’t something planned around a grand vacation or set up with a surprise band playing or written with a plane in the sky. It was something that felt right, and it was time. No one agrees exactly when ‘the time’ is. But when you feel it, you can’t pretend it’s not there. We were on the couch, enjoying each other’s company, and I told her that I loved her. And somewhere in next several sentences, I (almost automatically) said “Let’s get married. Do you want to be married? Will you marry me?” It was really almost conversational, but there were tears of joy and lots of happy hugging and “I love you”s.

Those smiles......did I mention joy earlier? 

Kathryn & Paul- Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your incredible day. Wishing you so very much joy & happiness on your walk through life together. All the best- CBlackwell

D & J Florida Southern College Landing, Lakeland, FL

After several months of emailing back and forth, I finally had the pleasure of meeting Desiree & Jon on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at the Florida Southern College Landing here in Lakeland. Desiree had requested old books, an old blanket, and a family photo of everybody (including the family pets) in matching Christmas sweaters for their engagement session. Yes, yes, and even more yes to all of the above.  So loved trying to make their requests a reality!

It turns out, this is one of Jon's favorite Harry Potter books...we almost lost him to the book there for a few minutes. :)

Love the outfits they chose to wear!

This was entirely Desiree's idea and it turned out beautifully!

And then at the very end, this total bit of awesomeness happened....

Desiree & Jon- I cannot wait to be a part of your celebration in June! Thank you so much for choosing me to capture the memories of your special day! As a thank you, if we can get 18 comments on this blog post (there's that number 8 for you!), I will add an extra hour of photography on to your wedding day. 

With Regards- CBlackwell

C & J Lakeland, FL

These two....where do I start? Have you ever heard that phrase "those two wild and crazy kids?" That explains Carrie & Jordan in all their wonderful, happy, include-everybody, always making somebody smile way, pretty much exactly. Their wedding was built with the love of family and friends. Everything from the big potluck dinner to a special dance for one of their ring bearers at the reception was designed to highlight community and togetherness. Even the list of photos Carrie wanted to capture was a testament to those around the couple and how much  they were loved. Thank you allowing me to be apart of your beautiful, music and laughter filled day!

Carrie&Jordan

Let's start this off right here with Carrie & Jordan's first look...one of my favorite times of the whole day. Carrie, you looked so amazing walking towards Jordan that he couldn't take his eyes off you....love.

Carrie&Jordan
 Family & Bridal party formals next...no shoes...adored it! 

Family & Bridal party formals next...no shoes...adored it! 

Carrie&Jordan
 One of my favorites from the day. A moment of prayer before the ceremony with the pastor.

One of my favorites from the day. A moment of prayer before the ceremony with the pastor.

 Incorporating both sets of parents in the giving away of the bride....

Incorporating both sets of parents in the giving away of the bride....

 Yes, yes that is Jordan trying to sneak an extra kiss.

Yes, yes that is Jordan trying to sneak an extra kiss.

Carrie&Jordan
Carrie&Jordan
Carrie&Jordan
 Carrie and her bridesmaids and friends spent many hours designing little special touches for the wedding. Loved all the sweet signs.

Carrie and her bridesmaids and friends spent many hours designing little special touches for the wedding. Loved all the sweet signs.

Carrie&Jordan
 The signage in action!!

The signage in action!!

Carrie&Jordan
Carrie&Jordan
Carrie&Jordan

Carrie & Jordan- may your road be filled with all the family and laughter that the two of you hold so dear. Wishing you much joy & happiness on your walk through life together-

CBlackwell

Inez Shepherd's Wish of A Lifetime

On a gorgeous, hot Friday morning in September, I met Mrs. Inez Shepard at Disney's Magic Kingdom for her wish fulfillment from the organization Wish of a Lifetime. Mrs. Shepherd had worked for 15 years in the shipping and receiving department, supplying goods to such places as The Emporium. It was at Disney where she met the love of her life who she was married to for 20 years. Mrs. Shepherd's wish was to visit the park one more time to see all the changes that had taken place in the many years since she had been there. She wished to say hello again to the location that played such an important, happy part of her life. I was blessed to be chosen to tag along and capture these new memories for her.

carmela blackwell photography wish of a lifetime
carmela blackwell photography wish of a lifetime
carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
 There was a classic beauty and grace that radiated from Mrs. Shepard, a kindness of the soul shining through her eyes. I tried to capture some of that in her photos. 

There was a classic beauty and grace that radiated from Mrs. Shepard, a kindness of the soul shining through her eyes. I tried to capture some of that in her photos. 

carmelablackwellphotography

E & C Ybor City, Tampa, FL

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, I met Emily & Caleb in Ybor City for their engagement session. The very first thing I noticed was Caleb's courtly way of holding the umbrella for Emily while also keeping a hand out to keep her from stumbling. Reminded me of a scene from Gone With the Wind...so gentlemanly and protective.  The second thing I noticed as they got closer was Emily's smile. Emily has one of the prettiest most contagious smiles I've seen. Every time she smiled, Caleb and I had to smile too. And that worked out pretty well for their photos.

carmela blackwell photography
 We started out under cover in Ybor City to give the rain some time to settle down.

We started out under cover in Ybor City to give the rain some time to settle down.

carmela blackwell photography ybor city
 Love the vibrancy of the colors Emily & Caleb chose against the old brick buildings around Ybor Square & The Creative Loafing Loft.

Love the vibrancy of the colors Emily & Caleb chose against the old brick buildings around Ybor Square & The Creative Loafing Loft.

carmela blackwell photography ybor city
 The most Awesome (with a capital A) smile!

The most Awesome (with a capital A) smile!

 Caleb's isn't too shabby either! :)

Caleb's isn't too shabby either! :)

 and then the sun...

and then the sun...

 so we headed on over to Centro Ybor.

so we headed on over to Centro Ybor.

 And got these shots...<3 <3 <3

And got these shots...<3 <3 <3

 Emily &amp; Caleb- I so enjoyed meeting both of you and the time we spent together. Thank you for the fellowship and smiles. I wish you all the best on your journey through life together as husband &amp;&nbsp;wife. God bless- CBlackwell

Emily & Caleb- I so enjoyed meeting both of you and the time we spent together. Thank you for the fellowship and smiles. I wish you all the best on your journey through life together as husband & wife. God bless- CBlackwell

C & J Lake Mirror Promenade Lakeland, FL

I met Carrie & Jordan in between rainstorms at Lake Mirror Promenade this past Saturday.  These two made me laugh before I even fired off the first shot.  They made me laugh in that comfortable, known-somebody-for-a-long-time kind of way. It was just about enough laughter to chase away the rainy day.

carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography

In one of Carrie's first messages to me, she said she was happiest in her Jordan's arms. That soon proved true.  She was never very far from those arms and the happy smile was never very far from her face during our time together.

 Love Carrie's smile...one of my favorite photos from the set.

Love Carrie's smile...one of my favorite photos from the set.

carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
 That look...

That look...

carmelablackwellphotography
 And right after all the rain that ended our session, came the rainbow.&nbsp;     Carrie &amp; Jordan- thank you for the pleasure of meeting you. I can't wait to photograph your wedding and be surrounded by all that wonderful laughter again. &nbsp;Until October- CBlackwell

And right after all the rain that ended our session, came the rainbow. 

 

Carrie & Jordan- thank you for the pleasure of meeting you. I can't wait to photograph your wedding and be surrounded by all that wonderful laughter again.  Until October- CBlackwell

L & B Oak-K Farm Lakeland, FL

Last year, after dating several months, Bob planned to ask Lonnie to marry him on Christmas day. But after asking Lonnie's visiting mom Cheryl for permission to marry her daughter and then dropping Cheryl back off at her hotel, Bob couldn't wait any longer. As Lonnie & Bob were walking back to the car across the parking lot, Bob told Lonnie he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, forever and ever and then some. Lonnie, not realizing what was going on simply said "deal." Bob instantly dropped to his knee, said "really?", and offered Lonnie her adorable Mickey Mouse engagement ring. 

Lonnie and Bob made good on that deal last Saturday.  They were married on a rainy, thundering afternoon outside but inside there was nothing but laughter and warm wishes for the happy couple from their surrounding friends and family. Lonnie loves all things Disney and especially the Disney movie Tangled. This was reflected in everything from the flowers in her cascading hair to the quote on the top of their wedding cake. Here is a little journey through the newlywed's "Best Day Ever."

carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
 Lonnie's dress made her look just like a princess from every little girl's dream.

Lonnie's dress made her look just like a princess from every little girl's dream.

carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
 Love the Mickey Mouse engagement ring and the invitations with the floating lanterns. All the little details to create the Tangled theme were gorgeous!

Love the Mickey Mouse engagement ring and the invitations with the floating lanterns. All the little details to create the Tangled theme were gorgeous!

carmelablackwellphotography
 The flowers were amazing!

The flowers were amazing!

carmelablackwellphotography
 Just down the stairs from the spacious bridal suite, Bob was excitedly waiting for the first glimpse of his soon to be wife.

Just down the stairs from the spacious bridal suite, Bob was excitedly waiting for the first glimpse of his soon to be wife.

carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
 And then, the beautiful princess was ready.

And then, the beautiful princess was ready.

carmelablackwellphotography
 Is there anything better than seeing your intended's smiling face waiting for you?

Is there anything better than seeing your intended's smiling face waiting for you?

carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
 The kiss...always a favorite moment!

The kiss...always a favorite moment!

 May I introduce Mr. &amp; Mrs. Robert Jones? These two never stopped smiling for the rest of the night!

May I introduce Mr. & Mrs. Robert Jones? These two never stopped smiling for the rest of the night!

carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
 &nbsp;Lonnie and some of her Sigma Kappa sisters. So lovely, they were able to join the festivities.

 Lonnie and some of her Sigma Kappa sisters. So lovely, they were able to join the festivities.

carmelablackwellphtography
 The very best day ever!

The very best day ever!

 Handmade "Tangled" inspired Christmas ornaments...so creative!

Handmade "Tangled" inspired Christmas ornaments...so creative!

carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
 Not enough words to describe their level of cuteness...

Not enough words to describe their level of cuteness...

carmelablackwellphotography
carmelablackwellphotography
 Standing out in the rain at the end of the reception as everybody was leaving. No cares, no worries, just the brand new promise of their vows and two hearts full of love.  Lonnie &amp; Bob- hoping that every day for you is the "best day ever" &nbsp;&amp;&nbsp;wishing you much joy and happiness on your walk through life together.&nbsp;  CBlackwell     &nbsp;

Standing out in the rain at the end of the reception as everybody was leaving. No cares, no worries, just the brand new promise of their vows and two hearts full of love.

Lonnie & Bob- hoping that every day for you is the "best day ever"  & wishing you much joy and happiness on your walk through life together. 

CBlackwell

 

 

Lukewarm coffee & early morning city streets

"Walking man walk. Walk on by my door. Well, any other man stops and talks but not the walking man. He's the walking man, born to walk, walk on walking man." James Taylor's Walking Man

"Early in the morning, risin' to the street                                                                                                           Light me up that cigarette and I'll strap shoes on my feet." Sublime's What I Got

What I don't have anymore is the cigarettes. What I do have is coffee. And these early morning walks in foreign cities over cobblestone streets and through half deserted municipal gardens.  I have an hour of stolen time while my three fellas are still sleeping back in the hotel. An hour of joy and silent discovery. An hour. A lifetime. A life. My life. Traipsing over sidewalks as many women before me have done. Savannah, St. Pete, Chicago.  Moving backwards in time reading building cornerstones. Lovely. And then, as the coffee runs out and people begin to appear, turning back to my family, returning with new dreams and a calmness inside, already planning my next walkabout. 

 

 River Street. Savannah.

River Street. Savannah.

carmelablackwell
 Walkways leading to Upper Factors Walk. Savannah.

Walkways leading to Upper Factors Walk. Savannah.

carmelablackwell
carmelablackwell
 The colors....

The colors....

carmelablackwell
 Every time I go to Savannah, i have to get a shot of one of these! :)

Every time I go to Savannah, i have to get a shot of one of these! :)

 Gravestones lining the back wall of Colonial Park Cemetery. Most of them are so old the engravings are illegible.

Gravestones lining the back wall of Colonial Park Cemetery. Most of them are so old the engravings are illegible.

 St. Pete Beach.

St. Pete Beach.

 Cloud Gate. Chicago. I love the reflection of the skyscrapers.

Cloud Gate. Chicago. I love the reflection of the skyscrapers.

carmelablackwell
 Architecture of this building...wow..

Architecture of this building...wow..

 I stood in the middle of the street for this one. The hubs may not let me go on the walks anymore. ;)

I stood in the middle of the street for this one. The hubs may not let me go on the walks anymore. ;)

carmelablackwell
carmelablackwell
 Jay Pritzker Pavillion at Millennium Park. Amazing design.

Jay Pritzker Pavillion at Millennium Park. Amazing design.

 Lurie Garden.

Lurie Garden.

carmelablackwell
 The end.

The end.

A & C Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Fl

It all started with macaroni & cheese.

I met Ashley & Chris this past Saturday at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL for their family session and to find out a little about their story. The two were introduced at a barbecue party by mutual friends. When asked, Chris said one of the first things that attracted him to Ashley was her macaroni & cheese.  They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach & Ashley definitely has that figured out!

carmelablackwellphotographyfsc001
 There's a warm glow of happiness&nbsp;surrounding&nbsp;Ashley &amp; Chris. It's an amazing thing to be around.

There's a warm glow of happiness surrounding Ashley & Chris. It's an amazing thing to be around.

 This session wasn't about only them though. They brought along two of the cutest little people and I love little people.

This session wasn't about only them though. They brought along two of the cutest little people and I love little people.

carmelablackwellphotographyfsc
 Everybody ready for more cuteness? These two just about cornered the market on it!

Everybody ready for more cuteness? These two just about cornered the market on it!

 And I love, love, love that Ashley brought her Grandmother. There is nothing like being able to have these pictures to look at years down the road.

And I love, love, love that Ashley brought her Grandmother. There is nothing like being able to have these pictures to look at years down the road.

carmelablackwellphotographyfsc
 Beautiful lady. Beautiful story.

Beautiful lady. Beautiful story.

carmelablackwellphotographyfsc
carmelablackwellphotographyfsc
carmelablackwellphotographyfsc
carmelablackwellphotographyfsc
 Ashley &amp; Chris- thank you so much for letting me capture some of the love&nbsp;in your family. Wishing you much joy &amp; happiness on your walk through life together. &nbsp;(and delicious macaroni&amp; cheese!)  CBlackwell

Ashley & Chris- thank you so much for letting me capture some of the love in your family. Wishing you much joy & happiness on your walk through life together.  (and delicious macaroni& cheese!)

CBlackwell

S & P Hollis Gardens, Lakeland,FL

I met Susan & Paul this past Saturday at Hollis Gardens here in Lakeland. These two are one of the most vivacious couples I've had the pleasure of photographing. They have a presence about them that steals whatever stage they find themselves on. Effortlessly, they fell into perfect position with little direction from me. 

 On a mild&nbsp;May evening, Susan &amp; Paul had their first date at the Black &amp; Brew in downtown Lakeland.

On a mild May evening, Susan & Paul had their first date at the Black & Brew in downtown Lakeland.

 Just having coffee that evening wasn't enough. The two needed to spend more time getting to know each other. That decision led them down to the lake Mirror Promenade and to Hollis Gardens for a walk.

Just having coffee that evening wasn't enough. The two needed to spend more time getting to know each other. That decision led them down to the lake Mirror Promenade and to Hollis Gardens for a walk.

carmelablackwellphotographyhollisgardens01
 Susan's smile when she looks at Paul can only be measured in megawatts. Paul did an excellent job of keeping that smile turned on. So awesome to be around!

Susan's smile when she looks at Paul can only be measured in megawatts. Paul did an excellent job of keeping that smile turned on. So awesome to be around!

carmelablackwellhollisgardens03
 Love the richness of the colors Susan &amp; Paul chose to wear. So striking against the colors of Lake Mirror theater.

Love the richness of the colors Susan & Paul chose to wear. So striking against the colors of Lake Mirror theater.

 What did I tell you about Susan's smile? :)

What did I tell you about Susan's smile? :)

 And again in Black &amp;&nbsp;White. Can you tell this is my favorite picture of the two?

And again in Black & White. Can you tell this is my favorite picture of the two?

 Susan &amp;&nbsp;Paul, I&nbsp;loved meeting you and &nbsp;having the chance to capture some of your magic. Wishing you much joy and happiness on your walk through life together.  CBlackwell  P.S.- Susan, I hope you found your ice cream &amp; you made Paul buy you the biggest one they had. :)

Susan & Paul, I loved meeting you and  having the chance to capture some of your magic. Wishing you much joy and happiness on your walk through life together.

CBlackwell

P.S.- Susan, I hope you found your ice cream & you made Paul buy you the biggest one they had. :)

Hollis Gardens, Lakeland, Florida Editorial Wedding Shoot

2:00 o'clock Friday afternoon, June 26th, Hollis Gardens at Lake Mirror:      It was hot. It was drippy wet, ring-your-shirt-out-three-times-in-an-hour hot. And my lovely models, well they did amazing in my vintage,pink styled editorial shoot. Hollis Gardens is a beautiful location for a wedding that the City of Lakeland rents out regularly. Attached are plenty of locations for your wedding reception such as the Magnolia Building, the Peggy Brown Building, or Lake Mirror Tower. 

Dress by: David's Bridal , Invitations by PontoMountainPaper on Etsy, Hair & Makeup by Tabbi Brooks of Handmade N Lovin' It